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Quranic Terminology: Love: Its Types within Human Beings

Quranic Terminology: Love: Its Types within Human Beings


Published in January 7, 2017

Translated by Ahmed Fathy


Things loved by most human beings:

1- God says in the Quran: "Adorned for the people is the love of desires, such as women, and children, and piles upon piles of gold and silver, and branded horses, and livestock, and fields. These are the conveniences of the worldly life, but with God lies the finest resort. Say, "Shall I inform you of something better than that? For those who are righteous, with their Lord are Gardens beneath which rivers flow, where they will remain forever, and purified spouses, and acceptance from God." God is Observant of the servants." (3:14-15).

2- The test of this life is its adornments that attract full attention of most people: "We made what is upon the earth adornments for it, to test them as to which of them is best in conduct." (18:7). Adornments are transient outer ornaments; the real, permanent essence to think of is eternity of Paradise, entered only by the good, pious souls. This is why we discern the comparison between transient adornments of life and everlasting essence in the Afterlife in this verse: "Wealth and children are the adornments of the present life. But the things that last, the virtuous deeds, are better with your Lord for reward, and better for hope." (18:46). We do believe that 18:46 is explained by 3:14-15.

3- Hence, devils make people of both genders lust and covet many things and possessions: women, offspring, money, assets, cattle, farm-lands, horses, etc. Of course, men desire women sexually, and women desire to have women as servants, as lust is not confined to sex; one may lust over worldly transient, fleeting possessions, money, fame, position, stature, authority, control, power, etc. Such lusts are loved by people though they leave all possessions when they die, and even any possessions may be lost, decreased, or sabotaged, and most people forget all about the eternal Paradise whose bliss and treasures never end.       

4- The pious real believers realize this facts, but most people love this world and its adornments and ornaments while never thinking about the Hereafter: "As for these: they love the fleeting life, and leave behind a Heavy Day." (76:27); "Alas, you love the fleeting life. And you disregard the Hereafter." (75:20-21).

5- This means that the vast majority of human beings fail the test of life, because they love money and possessions more than anything else including the Hereafter: "And you love wealth with immense love." (89:20).

Things that disbelievers do not love:

Those disbelievers are deceived by this transient life and its adornments and ornaments, and this makes them hate advice and preaching and feel animosity toward the Truth God has revealed; Saleh said this to his people, Thamood, as per the Quran: "Then he turned away from them, and said, "O my people, I have delivered to you the message of my Lord, and I have advised you, but you do not love those who give advice."" (7:79).

Things that disbelievers love:

 Those disbelievers deceived by adornments of this transient world include the following types:

1- Those who love to see vice, i.e., sexually immoral  behavior, spread within societies of believers, and God warns those against painful punishment in this world and the next in return for such evil sentiments, not acts, because these sentiments of love of vice and desiring to spread it are derived from disbelieving hearts that are ardently keen on propagating evil ways and vice: "Those who love to see immorality spread among the believers-for them is a painful punishment, in this life and in the Hereafter. God knows, and you do not know." (24:19). 

2- Those who love to be undeservedly praised by people: "Do not think that those who rejoice in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done-do not think they can evade the punishment. They will have a painful punishment." (3:188).

Things that believers love:

  Real believers from the very beginning have chosen guidance and God increases their guidance: "As for those who are guided, He increases them in guidance, and He has granted them their righteousness." (47:17). The features indicating this increased guidance include the believers' love toward faith and belief that adorn their hearts; these are real, permanent adornments that are lasting, pure, and beneficial; consequently, real believers hate disbelief, vice, immorality, and disobedience of God, and their blissful state is a bounty granted from God: "…God has given you the love of faith, and adorned it in your hearts, and made disbelief, mischief, and rebellion hateful to you. These are the rightly guided. A Grace and Favor from God. God is Knowing and Wise." (49:7-8).

Those real believers love the following:

1- They love to purify their hearts from polytheistic beliefs and notions, and they purify their souls and bodies as God loves this; we discern this from this verse about the Yathreb mosque built during the lifetime of Muhammad: "… A mosque founded upon piety from the first day is worthier of your standing in it. In it are men who love to be purified. God loves those who purify themselves." (9:108).  

2- They love that God pardons and forgives them, as they pardon and forgive those who harmed them even after those believers have acted charitably toward them: "Those of you who have affluence and means should not refuse to give to the relatives, and the needy, and the emigrants for the sake of God. And let them pardon, and let them overlook. Do you not love for God to pardon you? God is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (24:22).

3- They love when God lends them victory while they strive to perform good deeds and charitable acts in faith and deep belief: "O you who believe! Shall I inform you of a trade that will save you from a painful torment? That you believe in God and His messenger, and strive in the cause of God with your possessions and yourselves. That is best for you, if you only knew. He will forgive you your sins; and will admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, and into beautiful mansions in the Gardens of Eden. That is the supreme success. And something else you love: support from God, and imminent victory. So give good news to the believers." (61:10-13).

4- They love performing good deeds and charitable acts for God's sake and to thank Him for His grace, favors, and bounties, as we read this in words uttered by Solomon as per the Quran: "He said, "I have preferred the love of good deeds in remembrance of my Lord …" (38:32).

Those real believers are generous in donating for charity to the extent that they love the following:

1- They love to pay zakat, alms, donations, etc. even if they are needy or poor, and they love those who receive their zakat, like some early believers among Yathreb dwellers who welcomed early believers among the immigrants during Muhammad's lifetime: "And those who, before them, had settled in the homeland, and had accepted faith. They love those who emigrated to them, and find no hesitation in their hearts in helping them. They give them priority over themselves, even if they themselves are needy…" (59:9). 

2- They love to donate thinks and money they love and prefer, because they love to be among the pious ones: "Righteousness does not consist of turning your faces towards the East and the West. But righteous is he who believes in God, and the Last Day, and the angels, and the Scripture, and the prophets. Who gives money, though dear, to near relatives, and orphans, and the needy, and the homeless, and the beggars, and for the freeing of slaves; those who perform the prayers, and pay the obligatory charity, and fulfill their promise when they promise, and patiently persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and in the time of conflict. These are the sincere; these are the pious." (2:177). This means that real believers even if things and money are dear to them, they donate it to those in need of it, and they spend from their best loved and cherished things and money in order to be within elevated position nearer to God on the Last Day: "You will not attain the position of the pious and virtuous until you give of what you cherish. Whatever you give away, God is aware of it." (3:92). For instance, they donate in hard currency instead of local one, as they love hard currency. For example, they donate their best loved food to the poor, not food they do not love or they would throw anyway: "And they feed, from the food they love, the poor, and the orphan, and the captive." (76:8). Eventually, consumed food will get out of one's body in the form of odorous bad-smelling body waste, but donated food with aid its donors/givers to enter Paradise.

What is wrong in relation to love and hatred: 

1- Some people love something that might turn to be evil for them and hate something that might turn to be good for them: "" (2:216). What matters most here is obeying the commands of God.

2- Some people love those deceitful ones who hate them; for instance, some early believers in Yathreb loved some envious hypocrites and regarded them as their allies, unaware of the deep-seated hatred of those hypocrites toward believers: "O you who believe! Do not befriend outsiders who never cease to wish you harm. They love to see you suffer. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their hearts conceal is worse. We have made the messages clear for you, if you understand. There you are, you love them, but they do not love you, and you believe in the entire scripture. And when they meet you, they say, "We believe;" but when they are alone, they bite their fingers in rage at you. Say, "Die in your rage; God knows what is within the hearts." If something good happens to you, it upsets them; but if something bad befalls you, they rejoice at it. But if you persevere and maintain righteousness, their schemes will not harm you at all. God comprehends what they do." (3:118-120).  

Lastly: love between men and women:

1- It is wrong in Arabic to describe love as (gharam) which is a synonym of love, but in the Quranic tongue, the word gharam means total loss, as per prayers of real believers and servants of the Dominant God: "And those who say, ''Our Lord, avert from us the suffering of Hell, for its suffering is real loss (i.e., gharam). It is indeed a miserable residence and destination."" (25:65-66). It is wrong in Arabic to describe love as (whim) which is a synonym of love, but in the Quranic tongue, the word (whim) means what disbelievers' soul desires within immorality and evil practices and ways. God says the following about disbelieving polytheists: "…They follow nothing but assumptions, and whims their souls desire, even though guidance has come to them from their Lord." (53:23). God says the following about the pious ones: "But as for him who feared the Standing of his Lord, and restrained the self from whims and desires. Then Paradise is the shelter." (79:40-41). 

2- Love between spouses consists of mutual kindness, mercy, tenderness, fondness, and care, as we read the following in the Quran about how spouses should live in their relationship: "And of His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquility in them; and He planted tenderness and compassion between you. In this are signs for people who reflect." (30:21).

3- We know from the Quranic Chapter 12 about a story of one-sided love: "Some ladies in the city said, "The Potiphar's wife is trying to seduce her servant. She is deeply in love with him. We see she has gone astray."" (12:30). We discern that the Potiphar's wife remained in love with Joseph even after they caused him to be imprisoned, and she probably acted unjustly toward him because she loved him very much. We deduce that before getting out of prisoned, Joseph had requested being declared innocent first, and the King held a gathering/meeting that included these women who loved and desired Joseph as well as the Potiphar's wife, as the latter declared him innocent because she loved him and regretted her injustice toward him: "He said, "What was the matter with you, women, when you tried to seduce Joseph?" They said, "God forbid! We knew of no evil committed by him." The governor's wife then said, "Now the truth is out. It was I who tried to seduce him, and he is telling the truth." "This is that he may know that I did not betray him in secret, and that God does not guide the scheming of the betrayers." "Yet I do not claim to be innocent. The soul commands evil, except those on whom my Lord has mercy. Truly my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful."" (12:51-53)       

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